The ideological foundations of authoritarian school governance in Kenya: Some evidence from a 1999 study of University undergraduates
Ombaka, Dick M.
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Many studies have observed the authoritarian nature of school governance in Kenya over the years. In spite of policies being put in place to try and ensure more democratic governance even very recent studies indicate the persistence of authoritarian tendencies in school management. This paper argues that although some of the authoritarian aspects of school governance emanate from the structure of the education system itself the ideological basis on which the Kenyan political system operates has a very big role to play in reinforcing authoritarianism in the education system. In order to illustrate the authoritarian character of the system this study presents an analysis of data from a survey conducted in 1999 of university undergraduates – a significant proportion of whom were teacher trainees – to illustrate how these authoritarian orientations are transmitted through the education system. The study concludes that for this reason school governance is likely to remain authoritarian in the near future. Although this means that democratic consolidation in Kenyan society will be slow it will nonetheless be incremental and teacher education will change with it. In tandem with these changes school governance will also increasingly become more democratic.